Georgia shocked after Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey shot dead

AP photographer Burhan Ozbilici's picture of the gunman gesturing after shooting Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov at a photo gallery in Ankara. Photo/AP, 20 Dec 2016 - 02:32, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian authorities are shocked and saddened at the "assassination” of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey by a gunman shouting 'Allahu Akbar'.

Russia’s Ambassador Andrei Karlov was shot and killed by an off-duty Turkish police officer as he gave a speech at a photo exhibition in capital Ankara.

About 10pm when news of the shooting spread, Georgia’s Prime Minister released a statement on Twitter strongly condemning the murder of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey.

Graphic image below.

The gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey. Photo/Burhan Ozbilici/AP.

Similarly, Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze also commented on the horrific murder of Russia’s Ambassador in Ankara.

World media report the gunman was an off-duty Turkish policeman who shot dead the Russian official apparently in protest of Russia’s involvement in besieged Aleppo, Syria.

The gunman has been identified as 22-year-old Mevlut Mert Altintas, a member of the Ankara special forces police department. He apparently fired eight shots into the Ambassador’s back as he delivered his speech at the photo exhibition, reported BBC.

Russia's Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was delivering a speech at the opening of a photo exhibition when a gunman appeared from behind and shot him dead. Photo/Andalou Agency/Getty Images.

The incident happened a day after protests in Turkey over Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The UK news agency quoted Turkey's President as saying the attack was aimed at hurting ties with Russia.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone and, in a video message, said that they both agreed it was an act of "provocation".

He said that those who wanted to harm relations between the two countries "would not achieve it".

In televised remarks, Putin said the act was "undoubtedly a provocation aimed at disrupting the normalisation" of bilateral ties and the "peace process in Syria".

A group of Russian investigators will arrive in Turkey to look into the case, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.